Ireland RWC15 Report Cards, Pt.1 – Front Rows

Is the RWC the be all and end all? No it’s not – but it’s a useful benchmark, amongst other things. I shake my head sometimes at the Ghosts of World Cups Past that haunt every step of the tournament and what inferences can be drawn from some coincidental detail. Cup rugby is unforgiving because it’s knock out: so one bad game, an unsympathetic referee, a series of unfortunate injuries, and you’re out … with no shot at redemption. Continue reading


The English team that started against Wales had 483 caps after the game split between 395 starts and 88 appearances from the bench, 180 caps short of Lancaster’s target of 663. That total of 663 caps requires an average of just over 44 caps per man. Pop quiz – how many players that started have more caps than that? Bonus round – name them. Continue reading

Rag Trading

Mike Cheik 1-2, 1-2

Mike Cheik 1-2, 1-2

Writing the Age of Aquarius made me review my take on Michael Cheika’s time in charge of Leinster and to revalue the impact he had on the province. Perhaps because his Heineken Cup triumph was linked in my mind to Brian O’Driscoll and Rocky Elsom both having great seasons, I missed a lot that was hidden in plain sight. Continue reading